Showing posts with label Frasier. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Frasier. Show all posts

Thanksgiving on Frasier

Monday, November 21, 2022

As we discovered in the "Halloween on Frasier" feature, the series didn't focus much on holidays.  That should come as no surprise, as Frasier wasn't your everyday sitcom that featured an "average working-class American family" like Full House or Home Improvement.  


Thanksgiving is a time when most sitcoms highlight family and togetherness.  Where most families celebrate with a large family dinner complete with all of the trimmings, jokes, laughter, and family squabbles, the idea of that is almost the antithesis of Frasier.  As a series, Frasier focused more on the absurdity of life's finer things while still portraying the differences among family members.  While Frasier (the character), living with his father and being best friends with his brother, certainly loved his family, the show Frasier often focused on the affluent urban life of parties, dinners, and private clubs.  Compared to shows like Roseanne that featured the "everyday" aspects of a typical suburban middle-America family, a sitcom show like Frasier is often not considered in the same category.  

This was always sort of funny to me.  While Frasier may have been a bit "elitist," at its heart, the entire family was, deep down, all blue-collar folk attempting to fit in as best they could with the upper class of Seattle.  Martin was as down to earth as you can get, being a retired policeman who would rather spend his time at Duke's, his favorite dive bar.  Pair that with Frasier and Niles trying to weasel their way into elite social circles while still acting like buffoons puts them in everyday familiar sitcom family territory, in my opinion.  

Frasier may not have gone all out for Thanksgiving like Roseanne did every season, but they touched on the holiday twice during eleven seasons.  Like Halloween, Thanksgiving served as more of a backdrop for each episode than the central focus.  It also took the series four years to mention the holiday and another three before mentioning it again. 

Continuing the "Holidays on Frasier" series, we'll look back and see how they briefly touched on the Thanksgiving season.  I must admit that, much like Halloween, one episode stood out to me even before considering Frasier for this year's series.  I strongly remember watching one of the two Thanksgiving episodes with my parents when it first aired.  I'm not exactly sure why; perhaps it was one of the first times I remember seeing Lilith, Frasier's ex-wife, or maybe it was another "travel" episode as the cast left Seattle and headed east for Boston.  I also can remember the roaring laughter from my entire family as Niles attempts to prepare the Thanksgiving meal.  For whatever reason, this episode is so memorable that I can still picture where I was seated in my parent's living room as we watched this episode, and I'm happy to cover it here.  

Get ready for some eloquent, upper-crust, loving family dysfunction as we look back at "Thanksgiving on Frasier!"

Halloween On Frasier

Monday, October 31, 2022

Suppose you were to watch a sitcom from the 90s that depicted a holiday, especially Halloween.  In that case, you'd likely see great, elaborate costumes on the characters as they attend heavily decorated house parties filled with Halloween spirit.  The houses would be filled with cobwebs, pumpkins, skeletons, witches, black cats, and more.  Halloween was considered a special event on those shows, and it's how I feel that Halloween should have been in real life.

Given how much we all watched television as kids, many of us collectively feel that's how it really happened anyway.  

Honestly, though, we all had homemade costumes cobbled together at nearly the last minute or the very rare store-bought outfit.  We’d collect a small amount of candy and call it a night after hitting the 15 houses on our block before returning home to watch those Halloween specials we now all cherish.  

Don’t get me wrong, I had many fun Halloweens on which I look back fondly.  Especially that one year my parents got the itch and had a Halloween party with all of the kids from school.  My Mom came up with games and activities, and Dad made this elaborate haunted house in the garage that everyone loved.  They never did that again, and in a way, that makes that one time even more special.

Sitcoms in the 80s and 90s got the holidays right, and that's why for the past two years, I've covered classic sitcoms and their special holiday episodes.  You can find the series on Home Improvement and Roseanne in the Collections Section whenever you want, or click HERE for HOME IMPROVEMENT or HERE for ROSEANNE

This year, I've selected another classic sitcom of the 90s that my family always enjoyed watching together:  Frasier!  


Now, I know when you think of Frasier, Halloween doesn't immediately come to mind, especially when compared to Roseanne or Home Improvement.  However, there were a handful of memorable episodes that celebrated the season and even one that is often described as "iconic" or "classic" that makes many people's "Top 5" episode lists.

With the recent news of the Frasier "reboot" sequel series being greenlit on Paramount Plus, I thought the original series would be an excellent choice for our focus this year in the "Holidays On..." series.

Frasier was created as a spin-off of the classic sitcom Cheers, continuing the story of psychiatrist Frasier Crane, played by Kelsey Grammer.  He returns to his hometown of Seattle as a talk radio host, where he reconnects with his father (John Mahoney) and his younger brother, Niles (David Hyde Pierce).  Jane Leeves appeared as Daphne Moon, Martin's live-in caregiver, and Peri Gilpin played Frasier's friend and producer, Roz Doyle. 

Frasier aired on NBC between September 1993 to May 1994.  Originally airing after Seinfeld on Thursdays at 9:30 PM, the network showed its faith in the series by moving the show to Tuesdays to go head-to-head with rating juggernaut Roseanne.  In 1998, the show was moved back to Thursdays, taking over the timeslot at 9 PM long held by the recently concluded Seinfeld. 

The show produced 264 episodes over eleven seasons, receiving critical acclaim for its writing and humor.  The series amassed 318 nominations for a variety of industry awards, including 108 Emmy awards (with 37 wins), 24 Golden Globe Awards (with two wins), 26 Screen Actors Guild Awards (with 2 wins), 11 TCA Awards (with five wins), 9 Writers Guild of America awards (with six wins), and 9 Directors Guild of America awards (with two wins).

My Mom and Dad were big fans of Frasier, and I frequently watched along with them.  I didn't understand most of the humor as a younger kid, but I enjoyed laughing with my parents.  One episode, in particular, involved Niles pre-dialing "9-1-1" into his cellphone and was just waiting to hit send while he, Frasier, and Martin sat in their car in a sketchy neighborhood.  We were practically rolling at that scene, and it was one of several times Granny could hear us from next door.

I didn't start watching Frasier seriously until much later in life.  When The Hallmark Channel began airing Frasier later at right, for some time, it was all my wife and I watched as we headed to bed.

Frasier is often called "high brow" because its titular character frequently discusses things like wine and the opera.  Still, one just has to watch a handful of episodes to see that it contains slapstick and plenty of childish "low-brow" humor.  Much like its predecessor, Cheers, Frasier often used tongue-in-cheek humor filled with double entendres that appealed to high and low-brow audiences.  

Like in our previous look-backs at other sitcoms, not every episode at the end of October covered, or even mentioned, Halloween.  As a matter of fact, only three episodes in the eleven-season series centered around the Halloween holiday.  

Get ready because here's a quick look at those three Frasier Halloween episodes.  

Fair warning, even though it's been nearly 30 years, there are spoilers below:

10 Sitcoms From the 90s I Still Enjoy

Thursday, January 20, 2022

As my family recovers from the virus that's been making news for the past two years, please excuse the lack of recent articles.  Enjoy this list-style post while I put more effort into my next full-length feature.  

Thank you!

The 1990s was a decade filled with outstanding television programs, including many classics in the sitcom genre.  I've waxed poetic several times on this site about my love for the folksy and occasionally cliched type of television programming.  These days, I would gladly watch a rerun of a sitcom I've seen hundreds of times before than most new shows broadcast today.

Out of the sitcoms that made it to air during the 90s, only a handful of them made it past the first season, let alone into all-time fan favorites.  These sitcoms in the 90s, often geared towards children or families, would endear viewers with funny, emotional, and sometimes educational storylines.  Sometimes the family-friendly series would try to teach us important life lessons.  The series that were meant to entertain adults and teens would do just that; entertain us as we followed along with our favorite characters by peeking into their wacky, crazy everyday life.


Most modern television just doesn't suit me, and I often seek out old programming from my childhood.  As I type this, I'm in a hotel room with the television on in the background.  Playing is an episode of a sitcom I've seen maybe 15 times. 

It's safe and comforting in its familiarity.  It doesn't require any attention, and I can do other things while watching.  It brings back memories of times gone by.

It's television's comfort food.

Join me as I look back on the Top 10 Sitcoms from the 90s that I Still Enjoy watching.